Chapter 3

Understanding Radio

IN THIS CHAPTER

check Understanding how radio waves work

check Seeing how transmitters and receivers work

check Looking at the difference between AM and FM radio

check Reviewing some interesting radio history

check Building a simple radio

It’s pet peeve time! One of my pet peeves is the phrase, “The Golden Age of Radio,” which implies that the height of radio’s popularity was in the 1930s and ’40s and that radio has declined in popularity since then.

In reality, radio — the technology if not the audio programming — has never been more popular than it is right now. In the 1930s and ’40s, most people knew radio for just one thing: broadcasting audio signals. Today, audio broadcast over radio is as commonplace as ever, but the list of other types of information being broadcast by radio technology has skyrocketed.

First, there was broadcast television, which is nothing more than the combination of audio and video broadcast over radio. Then, there were cellphones, which use radio to extend ...

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